The infant (ages 0 to 2) does not verbally formulate "thoughts" regarding his pressing needs (which are part cognitive, part instinctual). This nagging uncertainty is more akin to a discomfort, like being thirsty or wet (states of being). These are transformed into permanent Self-states if the needs are not met.
Self is constellated and integrated via satisfactory object relations. When object relations are frustrating or hurtful, the self remains fragmented into states, each state corresponding to an unfulfilled, unmet need.
Each state has its own set of coping strategies, cognitions, emotions (affects) which revolve around resolving the lack. Each state is invested with aggression.
The self-states are dormant and reactive to stressors. During hibernation, they are perceived as internal objects.
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